Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FINALLY a coherent response

I got this email from a friend (who I love dearly)...

Sorry to give unasked for advice, but here it comes. I can't help it. Before your next dr visit or ultrasound, please ask yourself what good does it do to stress myself out and worry over something that may never happen? If something bad is going to happen, it is going to happen regardless of whether you worry and stress about it. And if you go through this pregnancy and something wonderful happens, it is going to happen regardless of whether you worry and stress about it. The worry and stress is not going to prevent anything bad happening. Picture some medieval monk flogging himself. Realize that's pretty much what you're doing to yourself. Once you realize the futility of flogging yourself, you will have the control to make yourself stop doing it. You, and you alone, are in control of it. This is going to be a long pregnancy, and you deserve only good things. This is a time to pamper yourself Catherine. It will take concentration to recognize the signs when you begin to get stressed, and it will take concentration to recognize it for what it is and then to abolish it. But you will be able to do it. There is simply no reason to allow it in your life right now. Think of it as an invading intruder that has crept into your family's home. You need to protect you and your family from this harm. Yes, Sam and Steve don't deserve to have you so worried and stressed either. I'm sure it effects them in a very negative way too. And of course your baby. So do it for them too. As a replacement, meditate on beautiful and fun things instead.

I took a deep breath and tried to explain it...and I finally have something I think makes sense. Two simple's really not all that complicated once you've had time to sort it all out...

You know I love you. And I love unasked for advice. :o) But it’s just not as simple as not worrying. It really messes with your head, having a baby (or two) die inside of you. As a woman, you’re raised to think it’s your job to protect your children (if you become a mother). And over time, as your children grow, you learn that you can’t protect them from everything this world will throw at them. But the ONE thing you never really consider is that your own body will betray you in your effort to keep your children safe. You never think that it will be YOUR failure that will kill your child. Yes, I know there is nothing I can do to control it. Trust me, I’ve learned that in spades. But there is more than just fear…there is guilt and doubt and all sorts of other things that you can’t help but feel when you are the one and only thing keeping a baby alive.

And then there is Sam. You say there is no reason to allow the fear into our lives…but there is. You see, nobody knows, unless they have lived it, what it is like to tell a child that their brothers died before they were even born. At five years old he has learned more than I had to learn in THIRTY years. And as his mother, I can’t help but feel anger at how unfair it is…and I can’t help but want to protect him from more disappointment and heartbreak. See, while other people are planning what to buy their new baby, I’m planning what to say to Sam if things go wrong again. While people talk about what will happen when the new baby comes…we have to talk about IF the new baby comes. We have to. I have to. Because that’s my job as his mother. And while I would love to be all sunshine and roses with Sam, I have to always remember that that isn’t reality for us…that we have to remember that our risks are different than everyone else’s and that there is a possibility that this won’t work out. And while I find that so incredibly difficult to prepare myself for, I also have to prepare my Samuel. Because that’s my job. I’m his mother. And I would be doing him a disservice if I just smiled and pretended like everything was guaranteed to be ok. I can’t and I won’t set him up for that heartbreak ever again. It’s not about fear. It’s about reality. Yes, it’s harsh reality. But it is OUR reality and we can’t ignore it. So if that means a few sleepless nights before doctor appointments, then so be it.

Don’t think it’s all bad. We have allowed ourselves to hope. We have purchased baby clothes (and left the tags on). We talk about what fun it will be if the baby comes home to live with us. We do think about the good things. Just because our perspective is different than everyone else’s, doesn’t mean we’re incapable of feeling the potential and the happiness…it just means we’re realistic about it.


Beruriah said...

Very nice sentiments she has, and obviously she means well, but as I read her message I kept thinking, "Okay, how? How do you banish the anxiety?" Why do people think it's even possible to rid your mind of the fear? It's not a choice.

I think your response to her was perfect, very coherent and firm but reflective of her well-meaning intentions.

vixanne wigg said...

Yeah. Ummm. Really--it's nice that she cares. But how do you make yourself not worry? It's not like you want to be scared and miserable. People said this kind of thing to me all the time throughout my pregnancy with Baby Wigg and I thought it was so weird. Actually, at the time I wanted to hit them. Now I just think it's sweet but misguided advice. You are going to worry. You just are. When you've been through a traumatic event (or two) I think it's pretty natural to relive that in your mind--especially when you have triggers. And pregnancy is one long trigger.

DD said...

I completely understand both your friend and your response. Here's what I picked up on:

If thinking negative thoughts does not cause negative things to happen ("regardless of whether you worry or stress about it"), then why would positive thinking make positive things happen?

Does that make sense? Why does the "power" of thought only work one way?

If I believed that by thinking only positive thoughts would insure that my donor cycle would work and that I wouldn't miscarry before 8 weeks (like the last 3 I've had), I'd quit my job and move to somewhere warm and sunny and beautiful where it would make me think happy thoughts every freaking moment of the day.

It's just sometimes good people end up on the shitty side of the odds.

Lori said...

It is obvious your friend meant well, and that her words were chosen carefully. You are showing a lot of grace to keep that at the forefront of your mind. Because, as others have said, it is still under the "easier said than done" category. And, as you articulated so well, there are very good reasons to approach this pregnancy with caution, and some reservation. I thought your comments about what this will mean to Sam were particularly well said.

delphi said...

I agree with Lori (as usual!). Well said. I always find it hard when the people who care about us the most try really hard to help us, but miss the mark a little. I think you had a good response.

msfitzita said...

A perfect, perfect, perfect response.

I get what she's saying, but yeah - it's much easier to manage stress when you haven't been through the hell you have. You're right, your reality is different than the average pregnant woman's, and you are simply responding to it the best way you know how.

I defy your well meaning friend to do it as well as you are, as a matter of fact.